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For Seniors - Crime Prevention

ssp seniors-2Seniors are among our most valued residents, but they also can be among our most vulnerable. A Community Services officer will provide information on programs and services for seniors, delivers educational presentations and is there to support seniors in our community.

The most important piece of advice from South Simcoe Police is that if you don’t understand what is happening in any situation, ask for help. Call police or a friend or family member you can trust.

 

Frauds and Scams:

Studies show that seniors are less likely to be victims of crime than younger age groups, but when they are victims of crime they are most likely to be victims of fraud - by telephone, over the Internet or in person. Be aware of the possibility of fraud in your day-to-day activities and interactions with people and businesses. Follow these safety tips to reduce your risk of becoming a victim:

Home Repair/Service Call Fraud

  • Ask for and check identification of anyone coming to your door
  • If you are unsure, do not let the person in
  • Call the company to ensure they have representatives in your community
  • Check references
  • Always get a second quote or estimate
  • Be wary of any company asking for money up front
  • Talk to a friend or family member or have them with you when you are arranging services
  • Do not rush your decision. Do your research
  • Never leave anyone alone in your home

 

Financial Fraud

  • Remember that banks do not cold call or email customers to verify financial information
  • Never give out any banking or financial information over the phone or Internet – especially passwords or PINs (Personal Identification Number)
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is
  • Always ask for receipts
  • Do not open any email or attachments from people you do not know
  • Ensure your computer has an updated virus-protection program
  • Internet users can check for email scams by going to http://www.snopes.com or other search engines
  • Be cautious. You have the right to check out the investment or buyer by requesting written information, seeking references, asking questions, weighing the answers and taking time to think over the offer

 

Telephone Fraud

  • Cold calls offering free vacations, lottery tickets or demanding donations over the telephone should be treated with extreme caution
  • Always verify the charity/company is legitimate
  • Do not give personal or financial information
  • Never give personal information over the telephone or the Internet

 

ATM Fraud

  • Be aware of your surroundings when entering your PIN and do not disclose your PIN to ANYONE
  • Cover the key pad when you enter your PIN
  • Be mindful of people trying to distract you
  • Immediately report lost or stolen credit/debit cards and any discrepancies in your monthly statements to the issuing card company
  • If you discover anything at a banking machine that looks suspicious (a card skimmer, for example), notify your bank immediately or contact the police for assistance

 

Advance Fee for Loan Fraud

  • A newspaper ad or telephone call about “easy credit” or an “easy loan” is a red flag
  • If you are asked to pay a fee in advance of receiving the funds, it is a scam
  • It is illegal in Ontario to ask for an advance fee for a loan
  • Report it to police and the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services

 

Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud

  • Prevention remains the best protection against fraud or identity theft. 
  • Immediately report loss of stolen credit cards
  • Check monthly statements carefully and report any discrepancies to the issuing credit card company
  • Never loan your credit cards to anyone and sign all credit cards when you receive them
  • Cancel credit cards you do not use and keep a list of the ones you use regularly
  • Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery and do not leave pieces of mail lying around your residence or work place
  • Shred bank statements and all paperwork you no longer need
  • Never give out your passwords or Personal Identification Number

 

Elder Abuse:

Elder abuse is any action or inaction by a person in a position of trust which jeopardizes the health and well-being or causes harm to an older person. The abuser may be a family member, friend, neighbour or someone providing personal care or professional services to an older person. Elder Abuse is often a hidden crime that is not discussed or reported and signs may not be easily recognized.

Types of Elder Abuse:

  • Physical – pushing, shaking, hitting, restraining and over-medicating
  • Emotional – insulting, threatening, humiliating, isolating from family and friends, removal of decision-making powers
  • Neglect – denial of adequate nutrition, medical attention, shelter, clothing or physical aids like walkers, glasses or canes
  • Sexual Abuse – any unwanted or non-consensual sexual activity
  • Financial – theft of money, unauthorized use of debit or credit cards, forging signatures on personal cheques, unauthorized granting of power of attorney

How to Recognize Elder Abuse:

  • Signs of physical abuse – unexplained cuts, bruises, bites, burns or fractures
  • Signs of emotional abuse – withdrawal, depression, anxiety, fear
  • Signs of neglect – poor hygiene, inappropriate or inadequate clothing, lack of safety precautions, unhealthy appearance
  • Signs of financial abuse – missing personal belongings or cash, unusual withdrawals from bank accounts, unusual credit card activity, forged documents, theft by power of attorney

 

Help is Available.  Please contact:

Support Services for Seniors - Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)
1-888-470-2222

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
416-598-2656

Guardian/Trustee Investigation Unit – Elder Related cases
416-327-6671 fax: 416-314-5301

24- Hour Crisis and Emergency Housing
1-800-263-3247

 

 

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